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You’re all grown-up when…. it’s all up to you

  Remember being sixteen, getting your driver’s licence and thinking you were all grown- up? The card in your wallet brought freedom, as long as the gas tank was full when you returned the car to your parents’ garage. That feeling of being grown-up may have lasted until you lost your virginity. In fifteen minutes…

You Say Milkweed – I Say Wildflower

  If a plant is known to be toxic and invasive, why would anyone intentionally sow its seeds into a suburban garden? To piss off the neighbours? Unlikely.  To engage in selective breeding? Possibly.  But what if that plant is milkweed—a plant which by virtue of its name is a considered a weed and not…

Thank you to the Canadian Medical Association and Macleans Magazine

Across the country, Canadians were given a forum to discuss end-of-life care,  thanks to the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Macleans. The Town Hall style meetings were an inspired idea. I attended the meeting in Mississauga and was pleased to see the combination of structure and informality in the program. Participants could come away with a common vocabulary,…

We Can Do Better

“Forget about planning your funeral; begin planning your end of life!”  That was the first response to my question, “What was your ‘takeaway’ from reading Autumn’s Grace?” as a recent discussion with The Neighbours’ Book Club was winding down. There were nods around the room. The speaker continued, “I have started talking with the people…

Remembering Alistair MacLeod

  I met Alistair MacLeod during the cocktail reception for Humber College’s week long Creative Writing Workshop. The year was 2003. Alistair had corralled his seminar students to meet them and to establish the reading plan for the first two days Up until that evening, I believed that I was in Alistair MacLeod’s group because…

Children Grieve Too

“But I didn’t kill him!” That was my seven year old’s anguished response when I had suggested he might say “I’m sorry,” to my brother-in-law whose father  had died a few days before. My son had not killed his cousins’ grandpa; a stroke had. However, his retort and his evident distress made me realize how…

Rants and Rabbit Holes

Once again I find myself in the midst of writing a story about something that incites my passion. This time it is elder care. But before I know it’s happening, I have ranted my way down a rabbit hole, and find myself figuratively peering up, saying, “How do I get out of here?” Writing about…

A Compassionate Canadian Proposal For A Death With Dignity

Some weeks ago I noted that Quebec’s Bill 52 – An Act Respecting End-of-Life-Care has gathered and polarized public debate. The Bill begins to provide the legislative framework for a death with dignity. However, it raises flags for those of us who have been concerned about the issue. A colleague and friend of mine in Montreal, Lorine…